Tuesday, 23 June 2015

"Fullness of Joy Literary Celebration Tag"

I have been so very slack with my blogging of late.  We have a bit of a slower week coming up, so I shall endeavour to finish a couple of posts that I have brewing and give you an update on how life is going.

But right now I want to have a shout out to Joy from Fullness of Joy, because..... *drumroll* it's her blog's fourth birthday!!!  To celebrate this exciting occasion, Joy has set up a tag on literature to participate in,

Hence - I love that word! - hence, here are my answers to the literature tag.  Enjoy!  :)

1. What is your favourite "happy" sort of book? (a book that either has joy/happiness as a major theme, or a book that gives you a happy, cozy feeling inside).
Probably anything by Janette Oke or Kim Vogal Sawyer.  Their Christian romances are so beautiful and edifying... and they always turn out so prettily!  :)

2. Did you ever have, in your childhood/youth, a certain book that launched you into a serious love of reading which made it something bigger than a mere hobby in your life?
I honestly don't remember... I have just always loved reading and I don't think there was any one book that initiated that for me.

3. What is one overhyped novel that people nowadays term as a "classic" that you really didn't like as much as everyone else? What made you dislike it so much?
I had to read Heart of Darkness twice for school.  I'm still not sure what it's about.  It is a very dark book and - although the language in it is very beautiful (I'll give it that much) - I found it terribly dry and excruciatingly painful to try and follow any sort of a story line.  I know that a guy goes to Africa, there's an African woman (??) and an English bloke dies.  I think.

4. What makes you motivated to blog, and what is your favourite aspect of the blogging experience throughout the years you've been writing?
I wanted to start a blog for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it seemed really cool to me at the time - I mean, most of my friends had blogs.  XDD  Actually, the main reasons were that I really wanted to encourage the people in my life, and I thought a blog might help me do this.  Also - and this is a funny reason - I am h-o-p-e-l-e-s-s at keeping any sort of diary or journal.  I always start out with good intentions, but alas! despite my very best endeavours, they never come to fruition.  (Can you tell who may have been to a few too many Pirates of Penzance shows??  More on that another time...)  The same goes for my poetry.  I have SO many beautiful notebooks and journals that whenever a poetic thought hits me, I grab what ever notebook/journal/scrap is closest and write it down.  Hence - there it is again! - my journal entries and poetry scribblings are scattered throughout several volumes in absolutely no given order.  I thought that keeping a blog, thus confining everything in one place, might help me remedy this.  It hasn't.
I would have to say that my favourite aspect about blogging is sharing my poetry.  I'm sure any poet/author will be able to relate when I say that one is never quite sure of the finished product.  It's like a parent with a baby - they think their baby is the prettiest, sweetest thing that ever breathed, but outsiders can see things that the well-meaning parents can't, sometimes.  I like my work, but I am ever so grateful when others read it and give me tips for improvement.  In saying that however, it can work the other way too - we writers can be a little too critical of our work, and we need you lovely people to reassure us from time to time.  To those of you who have read my poetry and left me encouraging notes, I thankyou so, so much.  * hugs all around*

5. What are 4 works of literature that you are particularly looking forward to reading in the near future?
Up the top of my list would have to be the book thief.  Yes, I left the capitals out intentionally, as +Clare Farrelly  pointed out to me, they are not used on book or film.

Next would be Anzac Girls by Peter Rees.  I adore the TV series, but have yet to read the book.  Actually, now that I think about it, this probably doesn't class as literature, being non-fiction, but It's a book I'm looking forward to reading all the same.

Then there's Hope was Here by Joan Bauer.  I have already read this book, and I LOVE it.  It's so sweet!!  If you haven't read it, you really need to.

I also want to read Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.  We read this aloud several years ago, but I have not re-read it since despite enjoying it very much the first time.

6. What are some of your favourite non-fiction books?
I think some of my favourite non-fiction books are

  • Cheaper by the Dozen   Yes, it's a real book, written by two of the kids in honor of their father who died of a heart attack when his children were all still quite young.  It is an absolute scream, with laughter on every page.
  • Angels in the Camp A story of a Christian Jewish girl and her mother in WWII, their journey through concentration camps and how their faith in Jesus brought them through every circumstance, no matter how horrific.
  • Call the Midwife  There are three or four chapters in the middle of the book that are worth skipping, but other than that, I really enjoyed this London 1950's book.
  • Evidence not Seen  Another WWII book, I reckon this is one of the best autobiographies I have ever read.  It's about a young missionary woman to the Pacific Islands whose husband is killed by the Japanese and she is sent to a concentration camp.  Her experiences with the Japanese are nothing short of terrifying, but the miracles she sees in her camp and again in her 6' prison cell are amazing.
  • Unbroken The biography of Louis Zamperini, this book is AMAZING.  Louis was an olympic runner who was one of the few westerners who saw the inside of Nazi Germany.  Upon returning to America, he joined the air force (by accident) and ended up a Japanese POW.  Suffering horror after horror, he experienced the hand of God move in his life in a powerful way.
7.  What are some of your favourite time-periods to read about?
I LOVE World War Two books.  I'm not sure why, but I just love them.  Especially when they are about going to the concentration camps or something along those lines.  I also really enjoy reading pioneer American prairie stories.

8. Is there a special book that influenced you to do something new in your life, or changed you in a profound way?
As quite a young girl, I had some books about India and Amy Charmichael.  Right now, I can't remember which one was the first I collected, but I ended up with several that I loved to bits - literally in some cases! - and read several times.  Amy Charmichael's story inspired a real love in me for India and the beautiful children that live there.  I planned for many years to set up an orphanage in India somewhere and live the rest of my life there.  I no longer have that specific dream, but my deep love for children - particularly Indian and Sri Lankan children - remains and I hope to adopt from the sub-continent one day.

9. Do you have a favourite contemporary fictional novel?
I am about to be your typical teenage fan-girl and say I really enjoy the Hunger Games trilogy.  I find the concept of it fascinating.  And, I must confess, I am a bit of a romantic and I was so pleased when Katniss decided to marry Peeta.  ;)

10. Persuasion is a very autumnal book, and many authors and poets have beautifully described and romanticised that season, which leads to the question: why is autumn so often idealised, and does it hold that certain magic and charm to you? What is your favourite season?
Autumn - in the right locations - is magical.  Blue skies; golden, red and orange leaves on the ground; and just enough chill in the air to require your favourite jumper and maybe a scarf... autumn is beautiful.
I must say though that Autumn is not my favourite season as I am a shocker when it comes to allergies and hay-fever.  I love winter the best.  Summer is simply awful, but cozying up with a book and a cuppa next to the fire is simply wonderful.

11. There are many novels set during the era of the French of Revolution, especially books written in previous generations by authors such as Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and Baroness Orczy. Which, if any, are your favourites?
I have not read must of this genre, but I really should.  I enjoy Dickens very much, and I started The Scarlet Pimpernel and was really enjoying that too, only I got distracted to reading other things and it got left behind.

12. What excites you the most about literature and its influence in culture, and how it effects the way people think and act?
I think literature - good literature - opens people's minds to good language and English skills.  Some of the most renowned writers learned to write by reading and writing from what they read.  By reading you learn language patterns, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary.

13. Is it ever a struggle to reconcile reading fiction/entertainment with the struggles of reality, and to place the importance of fiction within one's daily Christian life and walk with the Lord?
I sometimes get emotionally entwined with whatever I have been reading/watching.  (Right now, I am still recovering from watching Alice Garvey die on Little House on the Prairie.)  I sometimes have to tell myself to snap out of my mood and get on with life.
I'll admit, there are times when I would rather read my novel than the Bible, and there are times when there are parts in books I would not have read if I had known they were coming.  There are parts of books I wish I could forget.  In all things though, I strive to glorify the Lord.  Prayer helps when I struggle against myself.

14. Would you rather you lived in the countryside of England during WW2, or in the American Prairie during the 1800s, or during the Neoplonic Wars in Europe? (basically favourite historical era/setting to live)
Blah!  You picked my three favourite historical settings!!  I think I would have to say the American Prairie.  I often wish I could have a try travelling out in the middle of nowhere as a new bride to make a life for my family.  I think it would be fun.  :)

15. What is your favourite Jane Austen novel? Do you have a favourite film or tv adaption?
My favourite Jane Austen is Pride and Prejudice closely followed by Emma.  My favourite TV adaptation are definitely the BBC Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, and the 2009 adaptation of Emma.

16. Describe your ideal reading nook! 
My favourite reading nook is my bed.  It's tucked under a shelf just high enough for me to sit under, and it runs longways down along the built in bookshelf on the wall.   Add my quilts and a hot drink - perfect!  :D

17. Is there a particular book that is quite underrated and yet you think is undeservedly so and should be read by everyone? 
I really enjoyed The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemmingway.  Most people I have asked said they pretty much fell asleep while reading it from boredom, but I think Hemmingway was a genius in the way he wrote it.  No, not much happens in the book but I think the genius is that he kept me reading - enthralled by the flow of the language and the thoughts f the man - despite the lack of action.  I think it is a real treasure.

18. Do you have a favourite Parable that the Lord Jesus told? What inspires and encourages you the most about it?

19. Name a book you've reread more than twice. 
Oh deary... I don't think I can narrow that down to just one... I have read the entire "Little House" multiple times.  Also Little Women, the Love Comes Softly series, and many of the Chrstian Heroes Now and Then series have been read and re-read any times.

20. The main character in one of the giveaway books (Until that Distant Day) is a superb cook. How fond are you of cooking/baking and homemaking in general? 
I love it!  I'm probably not as fond of baking as I used to be, but I find a real joy and satisfaction is cooking a meal for the family.  I also enjoy running the house and even in cleaning it for everyone to enjoy.

21. What is a book you're intimidated to read but really want to read in the near future?
Little Dorrit.  Definitely intimidating.  Have you seen the size of it??  It's huge!!  But I still want to read it... :)

22. What 3 novels (or series of novels) would you like to see adapted to film or television?
I would love t see The Witch of Blackbird Pond done as a movie.  Also Hope was Here would be lovely if done well.  I think Ranger's Apprentice would be awesome too, but I happen to know that the first movie of that is already in the works with the auditions occurring sometime in the next few months, I believe.  :)

23. What would be the first thing you would like to say to/ask your favourite author if you had the opportunity of speaking intimately with them for ten minutes?
Probably "Hello!"  XDD

In all seriousness though, I would probably thank Janette Oke for creating beautiful, Christian romances that are entirely wholesome and Christian through and through.  They aren't just sloppy books that mention God once or twice.  Seeing the characters work through their faith, and reading through passages of scripture in the novels is so uplifting.

25. Favourite quote by your favourite author?
I can't pick!  Pass... ;P

26. What is your greatest wish/purpose in picking up your own pen and writing?
To glorify the Lord and encourage, edify, and serve others.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Late Night Poem

It happens sometimes... just as I am going to do something - in this case sleep! - a poem hits me and I have to write it down.  :)

To my princess:

As you go about life, I hear you hum,
As you wonder, “When is my prince going to come?
All my friends and relations, my sister, my brother
Seem to have found their significant other.
Ok not all of them – that’s not quite true
But the singles around me do seem to be getting quite few.
I wonder when my turn is going to come.”
I listen as you continue to hum.

“He is coming I’m sure on a dashing white steed
That has only ever known the very best feed.
His hair will be shining, on his feet there’ll be boots,
And his robe will out-spledorize all other suits.
Then he will look right at me, and right back I’ll gaze
And all the love in the world in his eyes seem to blaze.
Them as we gallop away towards the sky, full of hue,
He leans in and whispers, ‘Oh, my darling!  How I love you!’”

Oh my child, I listen as you continue to hum,
Waiting and wondering when your prince will come.
If only you knew how I desperately long
To capture your heart with my passionate song.
True, I didn’t come here on a dashing white steed –
I was born in a manger where the animals feed.
My hair was tossed by the wind, my feet chapped and oft bare
And my simple course robe was all I had to wear.
But I looked forward and saw you, years before you were born
And my love for the world meant that my body was torn.
But if you’ll come with me to the sky golden in hue,
I’ll keep you forever.  Oh my child!  How I love you!!